Children’s Music Classes

Read more about Children's Music
“Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being a human.” -Jewel.

The music classes at Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts opens the door to your child’s musical side, providing a fun, comfortable environment for students of all ages.

We believe that music is important in the lives of people of all ages. Musical experiences for children, however, is most important for many reasons. Yes, they have fun learning to play an instrument or discovering the thrill of singing on stage during a musical performance but more importantly musical experiences in childhood has been proven to accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language and reading skills. Learning to play an instrument can even improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores!

Most beginner classes at the McKinney Center are offered in a group setting, where students feel comfortable strumming together as they learn. No prior experience is necessary. As skills further develop students are encouraged to take private lessons with instructors, to receive one-on-one guidance to strengthen their technique. Classes are less theory and more practical application for beginners, and teach basic terminology and foundational aspects of playing instruments such as chords, melody, counting, and rhythm notations.

Music instructors at the McKinney Center are accomplished artists with in-depth musical knowledge and teaching experience and who also create enthusiasm and motivation in their students. It is important to our instructors that the classroom environment be comfortable and that students stay positive even when progress is not as quick as the student may expect.

Under direction of our faculty students will gain a full value of an education in music. In addition to the fulfillment that comes with music-making, students also acquire the 21st Century Skills that will serve them as they move into adulthood. These include: social skills, responsibility, self-confidence, coordination, and teamwork.

How can parents help? Show an interest in what your child is learning. Provide a quality instrument. Give your child praise and encouragement and help them schedule a time for practice – 15 – 30 minutes a day should help them retain what they have learned in class and will help them master their skills. Students need a quiet place to practice without interruptions. Listen to their practice and provide encouragement and never make fun of strange sounds in the beginning. Help them keep their instrument in a safe place and in good repair. Teach your child to be on time for lessons and rehearsals. Encourage them to play with others. You can even record their practice sessions to play back or to email to family members. Be sure to encourage them and provide positive feedback at home!

We must also remember that we are developing students who will have a lifelong appreciation of music. Keep the musical values on the top of your priority list!

At the end of each semester students will have the opportunity to perform together or solo at a student celebration usually held the first Thursday in December for Fall classes or the second Thursday in May for the spring classes.

Class schedules and fees vary each semester. Please review the most current class catalog for specific detail and always feel free to call the McKinney Center to discuss what class is best suited for your child.

Beginning Acoustic – Group Class – Kids & Teens

This group class is a great way to determine if the guitar is right for you. Students will learn how to play guitar in an easy-going, fun environment. Students will learn basic terminology, foundational aspects of playing the guitar, chords, and melodies. This class is less theory and more practical application for those who wish to play and pick at home, with a recording or with each other. Students will need to supply their own guitar, guitar strings, and picks. The class may be divided into two separate classes depending on the number of students who register and age range.

Bucket Drums

Rhythm is one of the most important concepts in music! In this high energy and fun class, students will learn how to count and read basic rhythm notation, recognize common rhythm patterns, engage in group sessions that will foster hand coordination, and learn to play and make music together through the fun and physically invigorating bucket drumming activity. We will work as a drumming ensemble, learning lessons which will lead to a final group performance piece, performed in front of an audience.

Beginning Acoustic Guitar – Private

These private lessons are for beginners or those with past experience who are looking for an easy-going, fun environment. Students will learn basic terminology, foundational aspects of playing the guitar, chords, and melodies. The class is less theory and more practical application but can also be adapted to the needs and wants of each student. Students will need to supply their own guitar, guitar strings, and picks. Sessions will re-start every 4 weeks.

NEW! Individual Flute Lessons

For individual flute lessons, each student’s current level of playing will first be assessed, and then technique, sound production and a broadening experience of repertoire and styles will be introduced. Lessons can be tailored to the interests of each student including length of class. Before registering you will be placed in touch with the instructor to discuss what is right for you. Students will need a flute in good working condition and a spiral notebook. The instructor will provide recordings to listen to and a substantial lending library of sheet music. Sessions will re-start every 4 weeks.

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The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.


Phone: 423.753.0562

103 Franklin Ave.
Jonesborough, TN 37659